gluten-free sides

35 Healthy Side Dish Recipes

March 6, 2019

So you’ve got the main course, but what the heck do you eat on the side? Instead of slaving away in the kitchen or resorting to unhealthy packaged products try one of these healthy side dishes and recipes for grains, veggies and yes, even fries!

In my dream world, all meals could be cooked in one pot in under 15 minutes but those are hard to come by! When it comes to dinner, the sides are always the kicker for me. I find that I can whip up a main dish fairly quickly but it’s the sides that end up taking FOREVER. There are times when one-pot madness makes sense, but in my home stuffed chicken and baked salmon always calls for healthy side dishes. And preferably ones that don’t take up much room in the oven.

Lately I’ve found myself eating the same thing with every meal: sweet potato and kale salad. Don’t get me wrong, I love both of these foods but it’s nice to change it up every now and then. However, I have no intention of slaving away in the kitchen. So I dug into the archives and reached out to some of my blogging buds for some inspiration.

I’ve pulled together 35 healthy side dish recipes that are packed full of nutrition, taste awesome and are super duper easy. I hope these inspired you to step out of your cooking zone and make some magic in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Grains

I’m a grains girl. A meal doesn’t feel quite as satisfying if there isn’t a grain involved.

Watermelon Feta and Mint Quinoa Salad – This is one of my favorite sides as the weather starts to get warmer. The combination of hearty quinoa + sweet watermelon + slightly salty feta is amazing!

Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash – You’ll love this warm side dish that combines wild rice and roasted veggies.

Apricot & Edamame Quinoa Salad – Eat this as a side dish or even a main! Perfect for lunch or dinner.

Israeli Quinoa Salad – Anything with Mediterranean flavors and I’m sold! Packed with flavor and nutrient-dense ingredients.

Harvest Grain Salad – Another favorite side dish. It’s a delicious mixture of quinoa, fresh vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and a dressing that brings it all together.

Quinoa Cooked in the Microwave – Had to throw in this genius kitchen hack from Fit Foodie Finds… did you know you can cook quinoa in your microwave in less than 10 minutes?! Bookmarking this!The Best Crispy Sweet Potato Fries made at home in the oven! No deep-frying required!

Fries

Yes, fries are getting their own category! I’m sharing french fries made from a variety of healthy side dish recipes. Just chop and bake and you’ve got a delicious (and healthy!) side.

Sweet Potato Fries – Everyone needs a recipe for sweet potato fries in their back pocket. I’m sharing how to make them actually crispy!

Baked Yuca Fries – If you’ve never tried yuca fries you need to! Seriously one of my favorite fries.

Jicama Fries – I love this idea of making fries from jicama! Great idea, Eating Bird Food.

Crispy Curly Fries – Miss curly fries from your favorite fast food joint? Make them at home!

Baked Zucchini Fries – I don’t know if it’s the dipping sauce or the zucchini fries but I’m dying to make this recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen!

Turnip Fries with Greek Yogurt Dip – Another creative Eating Bird Food recipe that makes fries from turnips! Yum!

This Maple Roasted Squash with Tahini Yogurt Dressing makes a perfect weeknight dinner or Thanksgiving side dish. The squash caramelizes and is topped my a thick and creamy tahini yogurt dressing topped with pepitas and pomegranate seeds. You'll be going back for seconds! #thanksgiving #thanksgivingsides #glutenfree

Vegetables

To yourself or partner or child that thinks vegetables are boring… I’m here to prove them wrong!

Maple Roasted Squash with Tahini Yogurt Dressing – If the picture above doesn’t make your mouth water, something’s wrong with you. Kidding! But make this side stat.

Cauliflower Rice Stuffing – Who said stuffing is only for Thanksgiving? Secretly packed with veggies and ready in under 20 minutes.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes – You can’t go wrong with roasted potatoes! I’ve done a lot of tests and can assure you these are perfect!

Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts – Roasted brussels sprouts are one of my go-to veggie sides. I took that and upgraded with maple syrup and bacon. So good!

Roasted Maple Dijon Carrots – Another upgraded recipe for a classic. These are delicious year round!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad – Eat this as a side salad or throw some protein on top and call it a full meal!

Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Feta – Basically spring in a salad! Can’t wait to try this side dish from Eating Bird Food.

Chimichurri Grilled Corn – If you’re looking for a way to spice up your standard summer corn, look no further than this recipe! It’s simple to make and the perfect side for your next barbecue!

Grilled Sesame Ginger Bok Choy – I love bok choy but I’ve learned that it needs to be prepared correctly to taste good! This recipe fits the bill. The perfect side for your Asian dishes.

Charred Green Beans with Garlic and Pomegranate Seeds – The combination of the roasted green beans and the pop of sweetness from the pomegranate will leave you wanting more… trust me.

Lemon Ginger Asparagus with Toasted Almonds – The flavor combination in this side dish is so tasty! Delicious year round but especially in the spring and summer.

Salt and Vinegar Brussels Sprout Chips – Chips as a side? You better believe it! Obsessed with these brussels sprout chips.

Peach Spinach Salad – You can’t go wrong with a staple side salad! This peach and spinach salad from Ambitious Kitchen looks amazing.

Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad – I went through a zucchini noodle phase where I was eating them with practically every meal. This is one of my favorite creations from that stage!

Orange Radicchio Salad – I’ve been making this so much this spring! Love the bright, refreshing flavors.

Deconstructed Guacamole Salad – Guacamole but in salad form? Love where your head is at, Eating Bird Food!

Lemon Herb Zucchini Noodle Salad – Another zucchini noodle salad. These take close to no time to whip up!

Broccoli with Miso Hemp Dressing – If you think broccoli is boring promise me you’ll try it with this miso hemp dressing.

Spicy Peanut Slaw – I’ve recently decided that cabbage is an extremely underrated veggie. Whip up this delicious slaw to have an Asian-inspired feast!

Avocado Corn Salad – Eating Bird Food took two of my favorite summer foods and made a salad!

Creamy Cucumber Salad – Few things are more refreshing than cucumber in the summer. Can’t wait to try this creamy salad from Fit Foodie Finds.

Avocado Strawberry Mango Salsa – Can’t forget about fruit sides! This strawberry mango salsa from Ambitious Kitchen is happening the next time we have happy hour or a Mexican fiesta!

Simple Citrus Salad – Apparently if you’re eating your fruit plain, you’re doing it wrong. This citrus salad from A Couple Cooks is paired with a vinaigrette and fresh mint and my mouth is watering. 

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  • Reply
    Tiff
    March 6, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Thanks for this. Everything I cook these days has to be quick quick quick! That bok choy looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    Ang @ Nutty for Life
    March 6, 2015 at 11:08 am

    You posted this at the perfect time because sides are my arch nemesis. They’re always on the back burner for me, and I end up eating like, steamed broccoli at the last minute. #lame.

  • Reply
    Cassie
    March 6, 2015 at 11:30 am

    The cheesy zucchini and the cauliflower rice sound sooooo good!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    March 6, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Side dishes are always where I struggle too. When I’m cooking for myself I swear I just have roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli on the side 99% of the time. But it can definitely get boring. Great ideas here!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      I’m in the 99% too haha. But sweet taters never get old…EVER.

  • Reply
    Chelsey
    March 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I love sides so much so this is amazing! 4 out of 5 nights I’ll have a smorgasbord of sides for dinner. Lately, spaghetti squash with marinara sauce has been calling my name and a meal just doesn’t seem like a meal without roasted sweet potatoes!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 6, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Agreed! Love my sweet taters. The best is the “pick your veggies” option at Westville. I could eat their veggie sides for daysssssss

      • Reply
        Chelsey
        March 6, 2015 at 3:59 pm

        That’s exactly what I was thinking of, but wasn’t sure if you were familiar with it…my favorite!!!

        • Reply
          Davida Kugelmass
          March 6, 2015 at 7:40 pm

          THE BEST!!! I legit miss it everyday haha. Go there for me!

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    March 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Yum, I need to give your grilled sesame ginger bok choy a try!

  • Reply
    Kim
    March 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for all the great side recipes in one place – I do struggle with choosing sides a lot!
    Have a great time in Chicago!!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Now the hard part is going to be choosing from amongst this list haha. Just got back from Chicago actually! But off to Dublin next week 🙂

  • Reply
    Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor
    March 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Side dishes are the best! I love this list and pinned it for later. Thank you so much for including my recipe!

  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    March 7, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Potatoes. My side of choice. Or main. Depending on the day/laziness.

    I need the peanut slaw.

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    March 7, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I’m gonna pick 4 and bust them out in a hot 60 minutes. WEEE! Thanks for including me, love!

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